I'm very VERY excited, dear reader, for tis the eve of another of racing's occasional Christmases. Yes, tomorrow sees the first of the new two days of Breeders Cup races, and I've been studying hard.
Studying hard that is, when not obliged to drive hundreds of miles to look at holes in the ground. Yes, the Grand Canyon is interesting, nay spectacular. But yes, it does look the same from the various vantage points.
And Sedona I'm afraid is just another hole in the ground preventing me from finishing my studies.
No matter, for I am most of the way there, and am skipping breakfast in order to share with you my thoughts. (Don't think I'm a martyr - I'm expecting to put on around half a stone this week!)
To Friday's card:
Filly & Mare Sprint
It looks like a speed duel up front here, between Dearest Trickski, Dream Rush, Indyanne and Lady Sprinter. Indyanne would have had a chance but I think the battle for the lead will see her race run before the home stretch.
Zaftig will stay all of this seven furlongs and more, and has the best speed figures in the race by a margin. But she has to overcome a four month layoff.
Indian Blessing should be able to sit behind the fierce early gallop and stalk into contention turning in. She looks the most likely winner.
Selection: Indian Blessing
Juvenile Fillies Turf
If ever a race was made for a decent Euro 2yo, this is it. Alas, none of the decent ones have come over and, instead, this race looks an absolute conundrum.
Laragh has the best turf form and should get an uncontested lead from the 2 box. She is miles clear of any of the other turf form.
However, we need to consider dirt runners switching to turf, and Emmy Darling has the highest Beyer speed rating by a distance.
Chuck in the Euro turf form, which is moderate, but may still be enough in a very weak division. Beyond Our Reach is the pick over April Pride and Heart Shaped.
I think this might be set up for a shock.
Selection: Laragh (tentative)
Value: Emmy Darling, Beyond Our Reach, April Pride, Heart Shaped
Again, a Euro holds the key. Pursuit of Glory's turf form is far better than any of the dirt form on offer, but she has to demonstrate she goes on the Pro-Ride surface here.
There isn't much speed in the race, so there's a possibility of a muddling pace and another false result. Added to that the best horses are mostly drawn wide, and may or may not be able to track across to a more favourable racing position.
All things considered, Sky Diva has the best combination of draw, running style and form, and may win.
Doremisollafatido could be value if she can get across from a car park draw.
Selection: Sky Diva
Filly & Mare Turf
An interesting race and historically a Euro benefit. Most of the better horses are pace setters or race handily, so there could be some fierce early action.
The US horses are much of muchness, with ex-French Dynaforce probably the pick.
Of the Euros, I am very sweet on Halfway to Heaven, a triple Group 1 winner this year, including the Nassau Stakes over tomorrow's trip. She loves fast ground and has everything in her favour.
Folk Opera is used to racing over here and, if not beaten by the speed contest early on, looks each way value.
Selection: Halfway To Heaven (Nap)
Value: Folk Opera
Ladies Classic (formerly Distaff)
A small but select group of US runners, with some Godolphin interest to boot.
There's plenty of pace, with Hystericalady likely to lead out and fade. The horse to be on is Zenyatta. She's odds on for a reason. Eight wins from eight runs, and she seems to be winning by wider margins.
She's proven on the surface, something most of her rivals aren't, and the race will be set up for her.
Ginger Punch is the defending champ and she's been trained with this in mind (obviously).
Selection: Zenyatta (nb)
Value: Ginger Punch
Friday's action will be here later (much later: I have holes in the ground to inspect...)
To the systems review, and Fancy Fillies incurred a winner (and therefore a loser for us), when Wajaha won at 8/11. She'd traded at bigger in the early markets and we're now back to around £300 up on the trial.
Today's selection is at Great Leighs tonight, so has yet to race as I write: Rublevka Star, in the 7.20.
I know you probably get bored with me writing about TTS, but I have to tell you that from our 16 runners today (yes, we sometimes have bumper days like that), we had the following results:
5.30 Charles Street WON 4/5
Another very nice day at the races. ;o)
Right, that's all for now. Back tomorrow with a preview of Saturday's action. Come on the Euros!!!